Leicester City’s “shocked” and “heartbroken” players have paid tribute to the club’s chairman after he was confirmed as one of five people to have died in the helicopter crash.
Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, who bought Leicester in 2010, died when his helicopter spun out of control and crashed in a fireball outside the King Power Stadium on Saturday.
Nursara Suknamai, Kaveporn Punpare, pilot Eric Swaffer and his partner Izabela Roza Lechowicz also lost their lives in the tragic incident.
Goalkeeper Kasper Schemeichel, one of the stars of Leicester’s remarkable Premier League title triumph in 2016, led the tributes from the team’s players.
He said: “It is difficult to put into words how much you have meant to this football club and to the city of Leicester.
“I cannot believe this is happening. I am so totally devastated and heartbroken. I just cannot believe what I saw last night. It just doesn’t seem real!
“It is difficult to put into words how much you have meant to this football club and to the city of Leicester.
“We all know about the investment in the football club you and your family have made. But this is about so much more.
“You cared so deeply for not just the club but for the entire community. Your endless contribution to Leicester’s hospitals and charities will never be forgotten. You went above and beyond in every aspect.”
English clubs have been paying their respects to Srivaddhanaprabha, with Liverpool owners John W Henry, Tom Werner and Mike Gordon issuing a joint statement.
They said: “Vichai is a great loss not just to his club but to the Premier League and English football as a whole.
“Srivaddhanaprabha was the ultimate custodian for the club he bought and then gracefully served. ‘The Premier League title win, one of world football’s all-time great stories, is of course the standout achievement.
“But beyond that, he led his club in a manner which all of us in this privileged position aspire to. Success on the pitch, allied with outstanding governance off it.”